by Andrew Doran & Elise Bechtel
As the seasons start to change, so does the sports season. In the soccer fields surrounding CI, you’ll start to hear whistles being blown, people yelling at each other to mark another player and cheers when the ball is put into the back of the net. A majority of these sounds come from CI Men’s Soccer, who are looking to have one of their best years yet.
Abel Arevalo, a fourth-year business major and president of CI Men’s Soccer, has very high ambitions for the club. “This year, we have a competitive team. I feel really confident in our team. I feel like we can be top two or top three this year.” Cristian Garnica, a fourth-year business major and the team captain, agrees with Arevalo’s goals for the season. “We are aiming for top two (in the league). Last season we got third place, so we are looking to improve on that.”
The reason that the team is aiming to be in the top two in the West Coast Soccer Association, Southern California Men Division II is because they get invited to an end-of-year tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. The men’s team has never qualified for this tournament, so it creates a clear benchmark for the teams following in the coming years.
With a majority of the games in October, Arevalo and Garnica are really keen on getting more fans to the games, especially against Cal Poly Pomona, who Arevalo and Garnica claimed is CI’s biggest rival.
Arevalo talked about how he loves the professional atmosphere at the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), one of the newest teams in MLS. The LAFC has a whole dedicated end of the stadium that sings, chants and jumps during the entire game.
“We want to create a more professional soccer environment, like the LAFC games, we want to replicate something like that. Not as intense, because we don’t have the amount of people that go there,” said Arevalo. “We just want a lot more support coming to our games. We want to connect with our community to get more fans out there.”
Garnica agrees with Arevalo, mentioning that they tried something new last year in order to connect with the student body. “We started a new tradition last year…We did our first 45 minutes of practice outside on the grass area of Central Mall. A lot of people didn’t know that we had a soccer team, so it helped put our name out there. We are also working on promotional items for the fans when they come to the games, like shirts.”
If you’re interested in going to a game, you’ll find all their information on their Instagram at their handle @csucimenssoccer. They promise that they are going to update their page regularly so they can have more students watch their games. Every home game will take place at the North Field, which is the field near Anacapa Hall.